Mark Pilgrim's digital preservation saga

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6/18/2006

A really fascinating look at a hard-core geek's digital preservation woes.

Mark Pilgrim is a long-time open source and mac geek. He's given some serious thought to preserving his digital work and has gone as far as switching away from the Mac platform to Linux.

  • Long-term backup - a hard disk crash forces him to look at everything he's done and what he needs to save.
  • Bye, Apple - he details the solution he settled on.
  • When the bough breaks - follow-up detailing the ways he used various binary/undocumented files has caused problems
  • And Oranges - John Gruber, a Mac nerd who is still faithful to Apple gives his take on it.
  • Juggling Oranges - Mark clarifies some of John's points. The section "On data fidelity" is especially worth reading.
  • Time to Switch? - Tim Bray, an XML & Unix guy currently at Sun, is thinking along the same lines.

The only thing I disagree with is that they think they're atypical. The only thing unusual is that they've been at it so long that it has already bitten them. As more and more information is digital & computer-based, everyone else will have the same issues.

Tags: preservation

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